How to Shibori Tie Dye

Shibori is a Japanese resist dyeing technique that uses folds, binding, and sometimes stitching to achieve a pattern. Traditionally the techniques were used to dye cloth and kimono with natural indigo dyes. It makes great shirts, too!

    • White fabric (or fabric treated with color remover) pre-washed, 100% cotton works best, the more natural fibers the better
    • Scissors
    • Rubber bands, twine, pvc pipe or pole
For Dyeing
    • Bucket or large container for the dye bath (5 gallons or more)
    • Dye (such as Rit All Purpose Dye), powdered or liquid
    • Rubber gloves
    • Spoon for stirring dye
    • Metal tongs
    • If dyeing cotton or linen, add 1 cup salt
    • If dying wool or silk, add 1 cup white vinegar
蜘蛛 Kumo (Spider) Technique

Step 1: Lay fabric flat onto your surface.

Step 2: Accordion fold into a rectangle.

Step 3: Pinch and tie off fabric on one side using rubber bands in 3 equal sections.

Step 4: Repeat on the other side in staggered sections.

Step 5: Continue binding using string or rubber bands, working towards the center, until the fabric is a tight bundle of knots.

嵐 Arashi (Storm) Technique

Step 1: Lay fabric flat onto your surface.

Step 2: Roll a pipe or pole at a diagonal starting from one corner until all of the fabric is rolled up.

Step 3: Tightly tie one end of your twine in a double knot around the base of the pole.

Step 4: Wrap the twine around the fabric pole slowly going down. The tighter you wrap, the more contrasted the stripe. Every couple inches scrunch the fabric up to make a compact bundle.

Step 5: Repeat the wrapping, scrunching, and tightening until all the fabric is scrunched up at the end as much as possible.

  • Thoroughly wet the bundles of fabric and set aside.
  • Prepare the dye bath. It’s best to do this outside, but if you dye inside, put down a drop cloth. Some dyes stain bathrooms so it’s best to be careful!
  • Fill your bucket or container (large enough to fit all of your bundles of fabric) with 3-4 gallons of hot water.
  • While wearing gloves, pre-dissolve 2 packets of powdered dye in 2 cups hot water then add to the bucket. If using liquid dye, you can just add the bottle to the bucket.
  • Add 1 cup salt or vinegar (depends on your fabric) and stir well.
  • Drop the wet bundles into the dye bath for 10-20 min, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the bundles with tongs, set aside for about 3 min., then stick back into the dye bath for another 10-20 min. Repeat one more time for a total of 3 dips. The more times the fabric goes into the dye bath, the more saturated the colors after you wash!
  • Set the bundles on the side somewhere to dry for several hours (but don’t untie yet!). You can also leave them overnight.
  • Untie your fabric bundles and rinse with lukewarm water until water runs clear. Hang to dry.


  • Eileen S

    Loved this video and love the art of shibori. This is on my bucket list of things to do. Awesome job, April!!

  • Bernard Fischer

    Loved this story. Mahalo

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